The Toolbox section of the February issue of TechNet Magazine highlights a product called Unlocker. I mentioned this over 2 years ago, but the software is still around and is being updated.

We’ve all had it happen to us before—some automated process hangs midway through its operation and a file gets stuck with a writelock, causing another operation to fail because it can’t copy, move, write to, or delete the file. And sometimes you just don’t know who was the culprit maintaining the file lock, but you know which file was locked. So what to do?

There are many ways to deal with this, but one tool that provides a quick-and-easy Windows® Explorer-integrated solution to file-locking issues is the free Unlocker tool, written by Cedrick Collomb. Thanks to its integration with Windows Explorer, you can find the offender by simply right-clicking on the locked file (or even a set of files) and then selecting Unlocker from the context menu. Then, if a lock is discovered, you can choose from a number of options, such as killing the offending process, unlocking the file (closing the handle), deleting the file, moving the file, or renaming the file. You can also copy the locked file in its current state to another location.

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